Thursday, 17 November 2016


And so, the Dirty Ears War continues. The Vulgarians, having thrown off their shackles, and quite a lot of their clothes, have been liberated from the tyranny of Roldovan rule. Thanks, however, to the dictates of the ancient alliance commitment that is the Spasmodic Sanction, Vulgaria now faces an array of some of the most potent military powers this side of Lower Lichtenstein. For various reasons, all of which relate to their own skins and the saving of them, the Vulgarians have received the support of the Empire of Grand Fenwick and the Landgravate of Hesse-Rotenburg-Schillingsfurst. It is at about this time in the war that Voivode Prince Dimitri of Vulgaria is the recipient of a bit of bad news ...

'Invasion?  Invasion!' cries Prince Dimitri Eugen von Feratu und Osterberg slapping the table with his hand and causing all those assembled in his council chamber to start suddenly. There is a moment of silence before the Prince barks out: 'Keep going, I'm a little tight in my shoulders.'
The assembled courtiers look on sullenly as, behind the throne, the Prince's new Principal Councillor helps him relax with a vigorous massage.
The new Principal Councillor is one Ranald Drumpf - one time under-jailer in the dungeons of Schloss Feratu, and now, due to a shared delight in playing painful practical jokes on ordinary folk, the best of friends with the new Voivode.
Drumpf is perhaps the power behind the throne - literally so, as Drumpf, standing on a stool behind the throne, kneads powerfully the Prince's shoulders.
'Ooooh, yes: just like that,' says Prince Dimitri. 'Now,' he says, 'in this time of war it is doubly important that we should, in addition to giving close scrutiny to issues of war, consider also the welfare of the ordinary folk of my realm.'
'Really, my lord?' asks Count Armin von Loon, the Voivode’s rather nervous Majordomo.
'No, of course not,' admonishes the Prince. 'Now find that court midget - I want to hit him with my hat.'

 All is not well in Schloss Feratu. Whilst the military mobilisation of the Voivodate has been progressing well in the capable hands of Colonel (now promoted General) Herz van Rentall, Vulgaria's new ruler continues to confront some tricky problems of strategy and policy.
'Von Loon - I can't do my britches up. I just find can't the buttons. This just won't do!'
Von Loon bows solicitously. 'My lord, I think you have them the wrong way up - I think that your legs go through the big hole at the top.'
The Prince throws up his hands in exasperation. 'This is ridiculous: I am having a royal trouser crisis, and no one seems to be paying enough attention! What's the matter with you all!'
'Well, sir', says General van Rentall, 'der is da matter of da Bachshcuttel infasion.'
'Invasion? Invasion!' says the Prince, slapping the table once again.
'Indeed, sir,' says Loon, 'a messenger reported that the Bachscuttel Army has already crossed the border and has formally invaded the sacred soil of Vulgaria.’
Drumpf whispers something to Dimitri, who then says: ‘What do you mean, “The Bachscuttel Army has already crossed the border and has formally invaded the sacred soil of Vulgaria!”’
Lord Konstantin von Kutchenzink, Keeper of the Privy Privy, shrugs: 'I suppose, my lord, that it might indicate that an army, probably from Bachscuttel, has formally invaded the sacred soil of Vulgaria by crossing the border.'
'How do we know?' cries the Prince, 'What is the source of this intelligence?'
'It's the hat isn't it - is it too much?'
Loon hesitates before answering:  ‘Erm…well your Excellency, your Voivodeness. The news is from a border guard. Very observant; very keen on using his initiative. I’m afraid this border guard has been quite explicit.   He saw the Bachscuttel army in full array cross the River Strudel yesterday morning and he has ridden all day and night to tell the news to you directly, as you ordered.'
'I did?' replies Dimitri, 'Well, excellent, have the man rewarded. Observant men with initiative are useful, they are ...,' Drumpf whispers something in his ears, 'dangerous and should be executed immediately.'
‘Your Excellency,' protests von Loon, 'that would be a tad unfair!’
Dimitri nods - 'You are right, my dear Loon,' says the Prince: 'have him beheaded instead. You heard me!  Have that incredibly loyal, energetic and patriotic border guard executed immediately. Displays of initiative? How long do you think I shall keep my throne if I allow people to exercise initiative?'
‘But your Excellency, haven’t you heard the phrase, ‘Don’t kill the messenger’?  Von Loon says, hopefully.
‘Of course I have, von Loon, and it’s nonsensical.' Drumpf whispers again in the Prince's ear. Dimitri then continues, 'He must die; for not only must we keep the news of this unwarranted invasion secret – we don’t want to start a panic, now do we? – but we must keep our response and our preparations, secret from any Bachscuttel spies, now mustn’t we?  They mustn’t know that we know!  Now execute the man before I change my mind and burden our faithful executioner with your demise as well!’
And so another loyal, yet nameless, servant of Vulgaria meets his end.
Kutchenzink steps forward. 'So, and just to clarify this my Prince, our policy is that anyone who knows about this war must be put to death.'
Drumpf whispers something into Dimitri's ear.
'Yes, von Loon' nods Dimitri, 'that is our policy.'
Kutchenzink nods, and then calls a messenger. After reassuring him that he will not be shot, he sends him to instruct the Royal Executioner to prepare for quite a lot of overtime.

Drumpf whispers in Dimitri's ear again. The Prince stands and begins haranguing his court.
Anyway, ' says the Prince, 'The unwanted arrival of the army of Bachscuttel into our country merely reinforces again the fact that immigrants are the key problem!'
Kutchenzink frowns - 'But, my lord, technically, aren't you are an immigrant to this country?'
'Yes,' replies Dimitri, 'but I mean, you know, other immigrants. Coming here, stealing our stuff ... cleaning up ... when we don't want them to.'
Drumpf leans forward and mumbles something to Voivode Dimitri.
Von Loon looks at Drumpf: 'Is that a wig he's wearing?' he says to Kuchenzink.
Lord Kuchenzink stares at Drumpf: 'It must be a wig.'
'Are you sure,' says Loon, 'it looks like a cat.'
Kuchenzink shakes his head. 'No, no: I'm sure he is a little rough around the edges, but not so strange that he would wear a feline on his head.'
Drumpf continues his whispering into the Voivode's ear. 'We need a wall,' says Prince Dimitri. 'Oh, yes, and it's going to be beautiful. A great big wall. And we're going to make the Palatinate pay for it.' Behind him, Drumpf reaches up, and feeds a pilchard to his wig, which starts purring.
Von Loon looks at Kuchenzink and raises an eyebrow.
Kutchenzink raises his voice: 'But these plans are silly, my lord - they are just the utterings of that bone-headed badger Drumpf!'
'Now, now,' says Dimitri, 'don't shoot the massager.'
Suddenly, ceremonial trumpets emit a noise reminiscent of sad, wailing flatulence - the midget has arrived.
'Excellent!' says Prince Dimitri, getting his tricorne ready. 'Watch and learn, everybody - this is the very cutting edge of Enlightment kingship.'
As the little midget  trots forwards between the assembled courtiers, von Loon says to him in a low voice: 'Do us all a favour, my fine lad - let him win this time.'

1 comment:

  1. Ah! The drama! The excitement! Another Mittelheim state has been drawn into the perpetual confusion and strife of war!